By Ashley Halsey, Professional writer, Marketing, Management and Recruitment Expert, contributing at LuckyAssignments
In this modern age of chatbots and instant customer service support practices, is a contact center even necessary? Well, yes, because people still like to speak to someone. All these other options are great, and add value, but there inevitably comes a time as a customer when picking up the phone and calling a real person who can walk you through a solution to your requirement is the only thing for it.
And in this globalized world, offering call center support in only one language is just not going to cut it. How then, do you effectively offer multilingual contact center support to your customer base? There are, as always, numerous options, varying in effectiveness and cost:
In-house multilingual support centers
Let’s start with one of the best options. It may be that you want to operate a single contact center from a chosen location. This single contact center will service your entire network of users and customers, which will be international in nature. You must, therefore offer multilingual support from that one site. Although not impossible, this is exceedingly difficult. Because what you need are operators who can cover all of the different language options that you desire. While this is possible in a big city such as New York or London, for example, where you have hugely diverse populations, you will then be restricted by rental costs for the premises you need. There is no easy solution here, but as Teresa O’Donnell, a business writer at Writinity
says, “having a single call center which employs operators who cover all of your language needs is perhaps the most desired option, but also the most difficult to deliver.”
Contact centers based in different locations
An alternative to a single contact center is to provide support in a plethora of locations which, between them, can manage your language needs. For example, a contact center in a location such as Mexico may well solve all your Spanish and English needs, while a carefully selected location in Europe may take care of half a dozen languages that are spoken around that particular continent. This is also a wonderful option because it means that users are able to contact support staff that are more often than not in their own country, or a native speaker of their language. At worst, the conversation will be with someone who is an accomplished non-native speaker of that language and will have experience working within that market.
The disadvantages of this approach are inherent. Instead of a single contact center, you will now need multiple, with the costs, hiring and retention practices, and logistics that come with this model of approach.
Outsource to third-party providers
You may want to avoid operating your own contact centers across multiple locations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hire third-party vendors who provide this exact kind of service for you. Okay, so the staff that man the phones are not yours, but with the right contract and training, those third-party staff can provide ample support in that native tongue at a fraction of the cost of operating your own contact center in that region.
“Utilizing third-party call center support can be an effective compromise, and there are a host of vendors out there that provide such services. These are usually set up in countries that offer the multilingual support you desire, but with efficient operating costs, meaning the price of hire is not off-putting,” reports Geoffrey Palmer, a marketer at DraftBeyond
and Research Papers UK
As always, software seeks to come to our rescue. Translation of the written word has been available for some time, of course, but there are now solutions for translating the spoken word on a telephone call, meaning that two people are able to converse in two totally different languages with the aid of software that translates from one language to the other. This type of solution totally removes the issue of requiring multi-lingual staff or multi-site locations. On the negative side, this software is far from fool-proof as yet, and conversations can be delayed, fractured, and at times totally ineffective. But it won’t be long until this becomes almost ubiquitous. All that is required is just a little patience. But that, of course, is another issue.